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2016 (10) TMI 378 - DELHI HIGH COURT

2016 (10) TMI 378 - DELHI HIGH COURT - 2017 (347) E.L.T. 49 (Del.) - Offence under Section 135 (1)(b) - socio-economic offence - Whether Plea of guilty is voluntary - Petitioner filed an application seeking to avail the benefit of plea bargaining under Section 265(E) Cr.P.C. wherein he admitted his guilt which is a pre-condition for availing the benefit which was not allowed due to the offence being socio-economic and then again filed an application for reviving the application of plea bargainin .....

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y undergone more than six months imprisonment he had not to undergo any further sentence - Decided in the favor of the appellant. - CRL.M.C. 1198/2011 - Dated:- 28-9-2016 - MS. MUKTA GUPTA J. Petitioner Represented by: Ms. Hiteshi Arora, Adv. Respondent Represented by: Mr. Satish Aggarwala, Mr. Amish Aggarwala, Advs. MUKTA GUPTA, J. (ORAL) 1. The petitioner was facing trial for offence under Section 135 (1)(b) of the Customs Act (in short the Act). At the stage of charge, the petitioner pleaded .....

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ot guilty. 3. The petitioner again filed an application for revising his application dated 7th August, 2006, however as the same had been dismissed, the second application was also dismissed. On 3rd April, 2010 the petitioner filed a third application, this time requesting the learned ACMM to accept the plea of guilt and take a lenient view in the matter. The learned ACMM on the said application noting the facts of the case convicted the petitioner for offence punishable under Section 135(1)(b) .....

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rial for 20 years, was aged 57 years, suffering from acute financial crisis and his son was hospitalized suffering from Hepatitis C awarded simple imprisonment for a period of six months with the benefit of Section 428 Cr.P.C. which was less than the minimum sentence of one year imprisonment prescribed. Since the petitioner had already undergone more than six months imprisonment he had not to undergo any further sentence. 5. Aggrieved by the order on sentence, the respondent filed a revision pet .....

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d matter remanded back for trial. 6. Undisputedly before the learned Special Judge the petitioner was not present in person. The learned Additional Sessions Judge did not ascertain from the petitioner in person whether his plea of guilt was voluntary or not. Merely because in his application he did not admit the allegations of the prosecution, or that he did not plead guilty at the time of framing the charge, the learned Trial Court could not have come to the conclusion that the plea of guilt wa .....

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offence being socio-economic and then again filed an application for reviving the application of plea bargaining which was also dismissed and then filed a third application pleading guilty. Further the learned ACMM ascertained the voluntariness from the petitioner in person. Thus the learned Additional Sessions Judge erroneously arrived at a finding that the plea of guilt arrived at by the petitioner was not voluntary. The impugned order setting aside the judgment of conviction dated 10th May, .....

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warding a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than [one year], namely:- (i) the fact that the accused has been convicted for the first time for a reference under this Act; (ii) the fact that in any proceeding under this Act, other than a prosecution, the accused has been ordered to pay a penalty or the goods which are the subject matter of such proceedings have been ordered to be confiscated or any other action has been taken against him for the same act which constitutes the offence; (i .....

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ACMM while awarding the sentence besides considering the fact that the petitioner was aged 57 years also considered the fact that the trial was pending for the last 20 years, the petitioner was suffering from acute financial crisis and his son was also hospitalized having suffered from Hepatitis C , medical record whereof was placed on record and was not disputed by the complainant/respondent. As noted above besides the age of the petitioner the three other reasons provided by the learned ACMM t .....

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